Some workers enter this field with a high school diploma. However, knowledge of electronics is required, so these workers commonly have a postsecondary degree or certificate. Strong communication and customer service skills are important because computer, ATM, and office machine repairers often interact with customers to figure out what needs to be repaired.
Employers often prefer workers who have training in electronics from the military or a vocational school. Workers who study basic electronics at a vocational school typically learn about circuits and transistors. They are also taught how to troubleshoot major issues, which means discovering which part is causing a machine to malfunction. A basic understanding of mechanical equipment is also important because many of the parts that fail in office machines and ATMs, such as paper loaders, are mechanical.
Repairers typically know electronics when they are hired. However, because the tools they use vary by specialty, repairers usually get some company-specific training on the job to become familiar with diagnostic tools, such as proprietary software. As new tools and technology become available, repairers will typically attend classes that teach how to use and apply these tools.
In some cases, entry-level repairers with limited knowledge and experience will get on-the-job training from more experienced mentors. Newly hired repairers may work on problems that are less complex, such as doing preventive maintenance on machines. However, with experience, they can advance to positions where they maintain more sophisticated systems.
Various organizations offer certification for computer, ATM, and office machine repairers. For example, the Electronics Technicians Association International (ETA) offers more than 80 certification programs in numerous electronics specialties for varying levels of competence.
To become certified, applicants must meet several prerequisites and pass a comprehensive written or online exam. Certifications show a level of competency, and they can make an applicant more attractive to employers or increase an employee’s opportunity for advancement.
Over time, repairers become experts in their specialty and may train entry-level repairers. They may also move into management positions where they supervise other repairers.
Analytical skills. Repairers often face problems with no standard solution. They must use logic, reasoning, and their experience to evaluate different possible solutions.
Communication skills. Repairers must be able to communicate effectively with customers because they work closely with customers to understand the problems with a machine.
Information technology (IT) skills. Repairers work with a number of advanced diagnostic tools and techniques, such as the ability to access a computer remotely. They must be able to use technology to test various processes and evaluate results.
Manual dexterity. Repairers must be able to make precise, coordinated movements with their fingers or hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Troubleshooting skills. Workers find, diagnose, and repair problems. They devise methods to run tests to determine the cause of problems. They solve the problem to repair the equipment.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition